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    The epididymis is divided into three regions including the caput, corpus and cauda. Gene expression profiles in different regions indicate the different functions of epididymis which are crucial for sperm maturation. In this study, three one-year-old rams was used as the experimental animal. Transcriptome sequencing technology was used to sequence mRNA in the caput, corpus and cauda of the epididymis. Based on the spatiotemporal-specific expression pattern in the epididymis, the mRNA expression profiles of the three parts of the epididymis were analysed. Region-specifically expressed genes were analysed by GO and KEGG analyses to screen the key genes involved in sheep sperm maturation. We obtained 129, 54 and 99 specifically expressed genes in the caput, corpus and cauda, respectively. And twenty specific expressed genes related to sperm maturation were used to construct functional networks. The heatmap showed that 6 genes of LCN protein family were highly expressed in the head of epididymis of sheep. We infer that sperm maturation is gradual in the epididymis and that there are significant differences in epididymal gene expression patterns between different species. This provides a data resource for analysing the regulatory mechanism of epididymis genes related to sperm maturation in rams.


    Cuiling Wu, Chunxin Wang, Bo Zhai, Yunhui Zhao, Zhuo Zhao, Zhiyu Yuan, Xuefeng Fu, Mingxin Zhang. Study on the region-specific expression of epididymis mRNA in the rams. PloS one. 2021;16(1):e0245933

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    PMID: 33493206

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